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Ergonomics is the science of fitting the task and tools to the user to maximize productivity while reducing discomfort, fatigue and injury. The application of sound ergonomic principals can reduce the incidents of musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) or injuries for individuals who are required to perform strenuous or repetitive motions.
MSDs are injuries or disorders of the muscles, nerves, tendons, ligaments, joints, cartilage and spinal discs diagnosed by a physician.
Common ergonomic risk factors
- Contact Stress – Caused by physical contact between you and an object.
- Repetition – Is when you repeat the same movement or a cycle of motions every few seconds.
- Force – Includes pinching and gripping or material handling such as lifting, lowering, pushing, pulling or carrying.
- Static Postures – Maintaining a fixed posture for a prolonged period of time.
- Awkward Body Posture – Repeatedly working with hands or elbows above head for more than two hours a day. Kneeling or squatting for more than two hours a day, working with back, neck or wrists bent or twisted for more than two hours a day.
Reducing office ergonomic risk factors
- Contact Stress – Adjust body posture, wrist support and arm support to reduce pressure of body contact to surfaces or tools.
- Repetition – Reorganize and or alter tasks to reduce repetition.
- Force – Use appropriate size equipment and tools. Apply proper lifting techniques.
- Static Postures – Frequently alter positions to reduce fixed postures.
- Awkward Body Postures – Adjust body postures, consider proper tool usage and reorganize work equipment and flow.
Office workstation setup
Eyes to source
- Adjust monitor so that the top of the display is at or slightly below eye height.
- Monitors should be at an arm’s reach distance.
Hands to input devices
- Raise or lower the keyboard so arms are resting at bellybutton height.
- Ensure input devices are located next to each other.
- Wrists should rest in a negative tilted position.
- Wrist support can be an effective way to reduce contact stress.
Body to chair
- Adjust the seat pan to allow for two fingers of space between the chair and the back of your legs.
- Adjust chair so that your entire back is supported.
Feet to floor
- Feet should be flat on the floor.
- Adjust chair height to allow for appropriate leg posture and arm height.